New Zealand-based singer-songwriter Lorde lit up the Santa Barbara Bowl last Saturday, ending the North American leg of the Solar Power Tour. The “Solar Power” album, a testament to living in the moment and appreciating the nature that surrounds us, was perfect for the venue.
Lorde has always been entranced by nature; her songwriting adapts around it. On “Team,” she says, “The moon we love like a brother / While he glows through the room.” On “Liability,” she claims, “You’re all gonna watch me disappear into the sun.” And “Solar Power” is, well, self-explanatory. Several times during the night, she asked the audience to stop and marvel at our surroundings — the moon, stars and mountains that make the Bowl so alive.
The singer performed 10 out of 12 songs on “Solar Power,” her 2021 album. She began with the short interlude “Leader of a New Regime”; introduced “Stoned at the Nail Salon” a short while after by saying, “Now it’s time to cry”; released tons of yellow confetti as the title track hit its stride; danced around the stage as the catchy “Mood Ring” played; and peacefully performed nature-centered album closer “Oceanic Feeling” before the encore.
Her previous albums did not go unloved, though, as she performed songs from her debut album “Pure Heroine” and the critically acclaimed “Melodrama.” The encore was composed entirely of material from her debut album, as she closed the concert with the bass-thumping “400 Lux,” “Royals” and “Team.” The crowd also went wild when the first droning notes of the fan-favorite “Ribs” began to play, and its outro got everyone out of their seats to dance, despite the song’s decidedly depressing lyrics.
From “Melodrama,” she performed the high-energy “Sober,” “Supercut” and “Perfect Places” all in a row, then went back to “Green Light” a while later. The song’s raw power was felt as everyone in the crowd could be heard chanting, “I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it.” (“Santa Barbara wins the award for the most vocal crowd,” she said at one point.)
Her sophomore album is, of course, known for more low-key, emotional tracks as well, so she brought reprieves with “Liability” and “Hard Feelings/Loveless.”
“The thing about really big emotional states … often they’re not permanent. And maybe that’s a good thing, you know. Because if something is that intense, sometimes you can’t live with it forever. So a lot of my music is also about holding up a strong emotional state, examining it, and either saying, ‘I’m going to keep this forever,’ or ‘I’m gonna get it out,’” she explained to the crowd between sets.
The earthier, more relaxed songs of “…….